U.S. album sales slump, digital rises in first-half 2012

Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:38pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. album sales for the first half of 2012 slumped after seeing growth last year, while digital track sales rose, according to music sales figures released by Nielsen SoundScan on Thursday.

At mid-year 2012, album sales were down 3 percent from 2011 at 150.5 million units sold over the last six months. Digital song sales, however, notched a 6 percent rise with 698 million tracks downloaded since January.

Overall music figures for physical and digital album and single sales showed a 4 percent increase, with 853.2 million sold so far in 2012.

"While retail sales continue to face challenges related to broader market trends, digital sales gains are expected to achieve another record-breaking year," said David Bakula, senior vice president of client development at Nielsen, in a statement.

"The strength in other monetized digital formats, including music streaming services, is equally encouraging," he added.

British singer Adele continued her reign on U.S. music charts, as her Grammy-winning "21" remained the biggest-selling album at the year's halfway mark with 3.69 million copies sold.

Australian singer Gotye had the biggest digital single with "Somebody That I Used To Know" featuring New Zealand singer Kimbra, selling 5.5 million downloads.

This is the first time a single has passed the 5 million download milestone at the year's halfway mark, topping Katy Perry's "E.T." that set a record for 4.12 million digital downloads in the first six months of 2011.   Continued...

Adele reacts as she holds her award for best British album of the year during the BRIT Music Awards at the O2 Arena in London February 21, 2012. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez